Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas

Our family had a wonderful time talking to and seeing Elder Santacruz! He has already grown so much over the last 3 months. He is doing very well and he couldn't stop talking about how much he loved his mission and the people of the Santiago. His Spanish is coming along great and we were all so shocked to finally hear him speak it. We love him so much and we are so proud of him and his decision to serve the Lord. We had a wonderful Christmas in the Santacruz home and hope you all did too.

First Baptism!

Elder Santacruz is so excited about something that is coming up. Hope you all enjoy this news as much as we did!

Hola como estas todo! This week was amazing every week just gets better and better!!!! So one of our investigators her name is La France and she is getting baptized for sure on the 28th and for one thing she has changed so much she has been showing that she wants to get baptized. One thing that we talked to her about is the law of chastity and about modesty and then this last Sunday she was completely modest! Another thing, she asked me to baptize her!!!!!!! My first baptism!!!!!!! ah!!!!!! I am honored to baptize her. Who would of knew my first baptism I would baptize a Haitian haha and one other thing is she only speaks French so we always have a translator but yeah that made my week.
Another thing that happened this week is my companion and I had an experience that made us even closer. I had a couple problems with him, I was annoyed with some of the things he does like he doesn't pick after himself. and so I wanted to talk to him about it and I went up to him and told him I needed to talk to him and he said lets start with a prayer and we said one and it helped sooo much! The spirit was there with us and we were able to talk about things calmly and work things out! This situation helped me so much to know that whenever there is a problem talking it out works and that I should always say a prayer. It is the best way to handle things. I will always try to do that from now on. I invite you guys to do the same whenever you guys have a problem with each other sit down and talk it out and say a prayer before. It will definitely help and strengthen you both. But yeah I love my companion so much! We have so much fun and he teaches me so much!
Everything is great! My Spanish is getting better and what we usually do is exchanges because the other missionaries only know how to speak Spanish and so that helps me a lot!
We had a Christmas devotional yesterday and the President talked about Jesus Christ and how we should be so thankful for him and that he is our Savior and that we need to open our eyes and see how much God showed mercy for us, that he sent his son to die for us that we a truly lucky to have someone in our lives that can feel our exact pain. That when we feel alone there is someone to pick us up and to guide our way. The spirit was so strong and I was so happy to feel the spirit. There was also a testimony meeting because all the missionaries were there who are in the city Santiago. There are 100 missionaries in Santiago and it took about 2 hours and I felt like I had to bear my testimony for these missionaries. I got up and my heart was gonna explode but I was able to speak the words of how I felt about my Savior it was so great! Such a great experience!
Everything is great here I love you guys! I cant believe next week I will be able see you guys and that its Christmas. Merry Christmas to everyone! Love you all and miss you!

-Elder Santacruz
Left: Elder Mateo (Dominican) Right: Elder Torres (Mexican). He loves these Elders
Alan our investigator with his Daughter

Junior, the member who translates French for us and who we help to teach his English class

Missionary probs. Electricity never works here so this is how we iron!

Ya my mission is pretty much awesome!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 3 in Cristo Rey!

Hola familia!!!!
Every week seriously just keeps getting better!!! My spanish is getting better im starting to understand more in conversation and its so great and also I am talking a lot more! I'm starting to use past tense and future tense more. My campionion challenged me to talk with eveyone and I have been trying my best. My companion is the best he is so great to me and helps me so much we seriously have so much fun together and it makes things so much better. I love the he has the confidence in me to do anything!
So I said I had a talk on Sunday and... I did good, well thats what people said. I was so nervous and I thought my heart was gonna explode out of my chest from beating so hard but it was so great to do it to help me get over the fear of speaking. Also 3 of our investigators came to church!!!!! So it was defintaly great. Then something else that happened this week was we  had intercambios (exchanges) and it was so hard for me because I was put with a Peruvian and he talks so fast and he mumbles his words none of the mexicans can even understand him haha but I'm gonna be honest this guy was making fun of me the whole time with his investigators but I know Heavenly Father helped me with patience because I handled it all day and night because I had to spend the night at his apartment but seriously I handled it good. I tried my best to keep the spirit with me to keep my thoughts good and to find my happy place haha but it was a good experience! I am so glad I have my companion Elder Mata!
We set up a Christmas tree yesterday! It was so great it was with the Lopez family they are inactives and they invited us over to put up their tree. It was so humbling, the only thing that they had in their house was a tree, refrigerator, and they had one room with all of their beds. It really makes you think of how grateful we are in the United States. This week was great, my district is awesome I'm still the ''greeny'' they pick on me but they are such cool guys and none of them speak English so my companion and I are the only ones that speak English. Our investiagtors are progressing a lot and everytime we meet with them we feel the spirit so much. Sometimes Elder Mata and I are amazed on how much they are progressing. So we pushed back the baptism dates to the 28th and I truly believe that they will be baptized because they are showing us that want to be. They are going to church and doing the commitments that we tell them to do. Well thats it for this week! Oh yeah today was Santiago P day it means you can go tour around Santiago and we went all of over and I saw how great Santiago is!! I love it here!!! I love my mission so much! Oh and I love the food hahah rice always with every meal. haha I love you all so much! Miss you! The gospel is 100% true! I love it!
-Elder Santacruz
Merry Christmas
Cooking Manganisa

How all the streets look in Cristo Rey

The strength of a Missionary at a service project

The Lopez Family


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Loving Cristo Rey

Hey guys! This week was fantastic! I love my mission! My week was way better than the first! I would say I am not homesick anymore. My companion is awesome! We have been working hard and guess what we have 3 possible baptisms the 21st of December! I say possible because anything can happen in that time they are great people and I love them so much. They are so nice to us and we have gotten so close with them in the last 2 week! Can you believe I have been gone for 2 months!!!!!!! That’s so crazy it feels like I just left yesterday! haha Also something crazy happened this week, we were contacting one day and we met a guy that could speak English but he had a bad accent anyways we talked to him for a bit and he asked if he could practice his English with us because he doesn’t speak it a lot here haha. He asked if he could take the discussions in English just so he could speak the language. We said yes even though he was just using us but hey it’s like service right... haha So then we went back the next day and we talked to him and he said that the church was really interesting and then we invited him to come to church and then we left. Then this last Sunday he came!!!!! Elder Mata and I were so shocked!!!!!!!! MILAGRO!!!! Haha he said that he wanted to keep coming!! He also wanted us to help him with his class because he is also an English teacher and teaches adults English and he wanted us to teach the gospel in English to them!! Which is really cool! We taught last night and the people are interested, they are all learning English. Our area is so cool the people are so nice to us they can tell that I am from the U.S. and they always ask where I am from haha. I got your guy's packages and I loved it! Also this Sunday I am giving a talk....... haha so.... pray for me and I will let you know how I do! Everything is good and I hope you all had a great thanksgiving and a great week because I sure did! Love you all, miss you so much!!! Thanks for your prayers!!! They are working!

Hasta luego!
Elder Santacruz 


Elder Mata and Elder Santacruz

Cristo Rey Santiago
Goof Balls

Beautiful Cristo Rey

Doing some Laundry

P-day fun
Looks delicious
Elder Santacruz is going to gain weight :)


First Week Down!

K Lo K (what’s up) everyone!!!!!! I love Santiago I love my area I love the people but they speak so fast here hahah and I am not gonna lie  because the people here speak really fast, I can’t really understand the Spanish. It is not Spanish it is Dominican language. My companion is fluent in Spanish and the first month he was here he couldn't understand a thing . I am still learning the language every day I get bits and pieces but it’s all good Heavenly Father helps me so much he has given me the patience and love. I will be fluent by the time I’m done with my trainer I can promise you that! The thing that I have been doing is talking to everyone. I have been speaking every day and my companion is so helpful. He is such a great guy he is so funny too. Everytime we're out contacting which we have been doing since day one, we have been having a great time. Haha he calls me his son all the time and everyone knows him on the mission. So heavenly father did bless me with such a great companion.

I am going to be honest with you guys I was homesick for the first four days and it was so hard for me to work. Reality set in and Satan was bringing me down I couldn't take it! The fourth day was really hard! That day we went to church and I met the whole ward. I couldn't understand a lot of people but one thing that I was thinking about was our ward and how it is SOOO different here compared to back home. When the time came for us to go back home I was so tired and I didn’t want to do anything. I was thinking of you guys and I was thinking of how I’m going to be out here. All of a sudden I felt that I needed to kneel down and ask for help from my Heavenly Father. I asked him to give me the strength to help me forget about home. Later that day he gave me an answer. My companion and I went to dinner at a member’s house and he could tell that I had something on my mind and he told me some advice that I’ll never forget. He told me that it’s normal to be a little homesick but he said to me that I am here to help. He told me that the most important thing you can do on this life on earth is serve Heavenly Father. He said that I needed stop thinking.... that I’m going to baptize millions of people and that I just needed to be myself and be Elder Santacruz.  He told me to have fun and to be happy for the time that I have now to have this opportunity. At that moment I was simply happy to hear those words. I felt more comfortable around my companion and I felt his love for me. That is when I felt Heavenly Fathers help, he gave the strength. The next day we went to go workout. We woke up at 5:45 and I wasn't tired at all! I was so happy to wake up and to go do something. When we got back we studied, had a great companionship study, and then a little training. After that we went contacting we had a great day. We have been working hard to find any investigators. We have been teaching 2 families and 2 people are interested that we found Friday. On Monday we gave two great lessons to a father and mother. They have committed to baptism!!!!!!!! And they want to know more!!!! I can’t believe the first week I have been here, we found people to teach!!! Everyday I have the energy to get up and work. I love it!! Also there is a girl we are teaching who is 17 and she went to church Sunday. She said that she had made some friends. Lately we have been finding members to go with us to see investigators and they are all converts and some have served missions. So pretty much we're building up a little team of Avengers haha.

How things are living here..... they are so different hahaha. The mosquitos hate Americans hahaha. The one thing that missionaries have been getting is dengue which kind of sucks but hey at least I won’t die ha don’t worry guys I will be fine and don’t look up what dengue is you don’t want to know! One thing that helps are fans. Once you put the fans on when you’re sleeping they don’t bite you. So that’s good! One of the things that I had to do for the first time is shower from a bucket. Haha Our water doesn’t work half of the time so it is a really humbling experience! Don’t even get me started on the electricity hahaha that stuff never works. I SERIOUSLY love it though!!! No joke!! My companion and I make the best out of it and it doesn’t bother us. One thing that we figured out that is so right, is that the missionaries in the states are SPOILED hahahaha jk but seriously.... haha I am having a blast guys I think I am over home and I love the people here they are so crazy haha I love my mission so much and I wish I could explain how great it is to do something that will change my life. It is already changing my life! I love you guys so much! I miss tons!!! Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all eat tons for me! Haha

Love your
Elder Santacruz

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Finally in Santiago!

Elder Santacruz is so excited to get to work. We are so amazed by his drive to bring the people of Santiago unto Christ. He continues to sound great and continues to impress us. This was last weeks email, I will be posting this weeks email as soon as he writes. Enjoy!
Im in the field!!!!!!!!!!!We left the CCM Tuesday morning and I said my goodbyes to everyone, all the elders that went to Puerto Rico and then I said good bye to the mtc president. After that we were on our way to SANTIAGO! We left around 6 in the morning and I was so pumped to get out of Santo Domingo. On our drive there is was so cool to see the mountains and how green it is here and our bus drive took about 2 hours to get to the bus stop and there was our mission president, his wife and missionaries waiting for us. President Douglas and Hermana Douglas are so nice they took us to the mission home, it was like 10 min away from the bus stop and when we got there i saw the mission home and it is huge! We got our luggage off the cars and we had to meet the President in a room to have a meeting and to have some training. He talked to us and told us about himself and told us how wonderful this mission is that people are so nice, so humble, and that they believe in Christ and God and are waiting to hear our message. So then he told us that we were gonna go on splits with the elders around the area and that we had to give out a book of mormon and he told us to come back at 6. We split up companions and I got split up with an Elder whose name is Elder Mata. He is from Phoenix Arizona! haha He has been on his mission for 1 year and so we went out and went into his area and the people are so nice. We talked to a family and we introduced ourselves and then they invited us in and we gave them a book of Mormon. Then we went to a family who was super Catholic and it was my turn to talk and my comapnion didnt help me out at all haha but it was good! I explained the book of mormon and I told them to read a paragraph in the introduction and they did and I asked things and they would respond of how they felt about it. I couldnt undertstand a word of what the father was saying! Dominicans mumble their words and old people are hard to understand what they are saying. I asked them if they would read the book and they accepted and I gave them a chapter to read and they said they would! Then we went to an inactive family's house and the mother was the only one there with her four little girls. We had to visit outside but it was alright cause it was nice outside. The weather is way better here in Santiago than Santo Domingo but anyways this family was awesome! They are so funny and nice but are going through some tough times right now. I shared them a scripture and I know that they felt the spirit because I felt it. I gave the scripture of  1 Nephi 7:12 . It is about faith, to have faith in all things that things will get better. They were impressed with my spanish for being a new missionary from the states. They asked if I was Elder Mata's new companion and I said no haha they liked me.
When we were done it was like 6 and we were late being back home and we were like 30 miles from the mission home so we took these taxis called Rutas. They are these tiny cars that have these letters on them that tell you what route they take. So we found the one that leads to the mission home and we took it. They cost 20 pesos to take them and the funny part about them is there is no max of people that can go in them as long as you can fit. So we took a Ruta and there were 7 people in a tiny car and then 2 more which would be us so there was 9 of us in a 5 seat car..... ahahahahhah I was in the back with 4 others and my companion was in the front with two others on the passenger seat. It was so funny I was sitting on someones lap that I did not know... haha any ways we finally got to the mission home and then we had an interview with the president so that he could pick who would train us and he said the Elder that I went with that night wanted to be my trainer.... hahah he was/is really cool he is a semi pro soccer player!! The interview was great I love my mission president! Later that night I was assigned and I was set to be with that same Elder!!! Elder MATA is my companion he is a cool guy! We are going to be in area called CRISTO REY! That was the same area that we went contacting in!!! President said that there is a lot of success in that area! I am so pumped to work in that area and for my companion to train me. The next day was tranfers and my companion is in charge of getting all missionaries to their new companion so I was waiting with all the missionaries and I didn't see my companion all day haha. I was waiting on the curve with all the missionaries for 7 hours haha. When I saw him we got  my things in the car and we drove to our apartment. When I saw it, it looked so cozy. We get a view of the whole city! Today when we woke up we went for a run around the city and it reminds me of the streets of Santa Ana in Mexico! We woke and had personal study, companion study, and then he trained me. He will be my trainer for the next 12 weeks or more I am so ready to work! We are going to have fun doing it he said and that sounds good to me! He said my spanish is good for being a day out here and he is going to help me be fluent in spanish in the next 7 weeks. He said I'll know it by then but we will see hahaha I love it here already.
I am emailing you guys from the mission office but its because I didnt have time to email you guys yesterday so I'll be emailing you guys from a computer that we have to pay to use. Im sorry I dont have any picture this week I'll put them up next week I love you guys I'm doing great and I love it here! 
hasta luego!
Elder Santacruz

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Next Stop, Santiago!

Elder Santacruz is almost out of the MTC. His experience there was amazing and he couldn't be more happier with the way he spend his time there. He is so ready to go out and meet the people of Santiago and teach them all of the things that he has learned so far. He is going to be great. Enjoy!

Hola! This week was great we went to the field and we got to go on splits and I was with a missionary that is from Gilbert Arizona. He leaves in two weeks he is awesome! We hit it off great and we were out for about 5 hours and I seriously saw so many things in 5 hours than in my whole life! I loved it! We started out by driving there and we almost died we had 12 missionaries squished into a car haha. We drove 30 min into a poor area and when I mean poor I mean pooooorrrrrr..... we got there and divided up. I went with Elder Reiley, he told me all of his stories on his mission and things that happened to him. He told me that we were gonna give a couple lessons that day and I was kinda nervous.... but it turned out to be so fun! We first went to this lady's house who converted to the church 6 months ago. Walking there I almost died, I almost got hit by a car haha dont worry I'm fine! People are crazy drivers down here. Dad would hate driving here haha. Any ways we got to her house, the door was open, and next thing I know he tells me that I'm teaching the lesson hahahaha I ended up talking about my favorite scripture. I told her about the importance of prayer and that it will help us daily. I was so shocked to see house small the houses are. We got to one house and it was the size of my old room back at home! That lesson turned out great I was able to understand her and say what I wanted to say but when we did some contacting we talked to some people that spoke so fast I was just lost in what they were saying! After that we went to this couples house who were living together but they weren't married. Elder Reiley told me that they have been trying to get them married or convinve them to move out. When we got there I met them and they were really nice We started talking and they asked me where I am from, how old I was and stuff like that. All of a sudden the lady starts saying that they are having problems in their relationship and that there is no repect between them.. companion and I look at eachother trying to think of what we should do haha so he thought of a solution to talk with them individualy. So pretty much we were relationship counselors haha They each told us their problems and we told them that they should pray together to find out what they should do for themselves. They told us that they would commit to that. It was a good experience and I am glad that I had it. After that we went and walked around and went contacting a little. We saw a lot of kids! They love the missionaries, everyone hangs out outside at night so it was so easy to find people to talk to. One of the funny things I saw was there were a lot of naked kids just running out in the streets. It was so weird but funny at the same time hahah. We saw a lot of kids play stick ball they dont use a ball they use caps and they flick them no one wonder dominicans are so good at baseball ha. After we were done contacting it was time for me to go back to the MTC. It was so much fun to do that I cant wait to go out in the field now!!! I'm Pumped! 4 more days until I leave the MTC!
We had one of the area 70 come and talk to us, he gave such a great talk! The spirit was so strong that day! One of things that he said that I loved was that as missionaries we get to be apart of the game and we're not just sitting in the stands eating popcorn and watching it. We are actually playing in it and that our coaches are picking the plays and we have to listen to know what to do and how to do it! He told us that we need to work hard and keep working on following the spirit and open our ears so that when its telling us something we will listen and do what it's telling us what to do.
As its our last week in the MTC looking back I feel like I wasn't wasting time and I feel that I made the best of it. I told myself the day I got here I wasn't gonna play around anymore because this wasn't high school. Although I am having lots of fun here, at the same time I need to stay focused on my purpose. Learning a language I especially need the tool of staying focused because I need to talk to investigators. I'm still working on it and getting better everyday. I love the fact that they teach us to make goals and I have made daily and weekly goals. I try to fulfill them as much as I can. Heavenly Father has helped me learn this language, I know that he will continue helping me and when the time comes the Holy Ghost will put words in my mouth so that I may testify of the truth. My experience here was the best. It was not easy at all but it made me realize that I can do anything when I have faith.
This week was so fast! My companion and I have been teaching lessons, memorizing scriptures, and reading a ton! I am also getting really good at basketball haha Everyday we have gym time for an hour and that is where I met these new missionaries like 3 days ago. They are from Guatemala. They only speak Spanish but they are going to my mission. Every night before we go to bed my roomates are so funny! haha One Elder is from Mesa Arizona and he is a total man! He has a truck, he has guns, and goes shooting all the time. He's the funiest guy ever and he is going to my mission. We laugh about things that happened in "our day" and that is the best!
Today we went to the temple and they just got the new video! We have been watching the old one since we got here. The new one is so much better! haha Today was the last time we could go to the temple for 23 months and it was a great last experience! Everything is great over here! I am doing fine and I will be leaving Tuesday morning to my mission and I think my P day is on Wednesday. I love you all so much! Thanks for your prayers, they help me a lot! 
Hasta Luego!
Elder Santacruz


Friday, November 8, 2013

I've done one month I can do two years

Elder Santacruz has been in the DR for one month! He continues to wow us with his experiences every week. He looks and sounds great. We really enjoyed the pictures this week. They show us the funny Ronald we remember! Hope you all enjoy his email as much as we did!

Hello my family!!!

My fourth week in the MTC was fantastic! I enjoy every second that I have here! The week started out by going to the university again! I was so pumped to use my Spanish because I have been working on it a lot. Right when we got there my companion said to me he wasn’t feeling good he said he had an upset stomach so he didn’t really want to do contacting and try to talk to people. So when we were walking around I was kind of on my own speaking. but it was alright we were there for the experience and to talk to people. It was so hard to understand them sometimes. They really do take out there T's in the DR haha. We found a guy that could speak English and we were SOOO happy. We told him about the gospel and he was really interested. He wanted to know about Joseph Smith and we ended up talking to him for 30 min. This past Sunday was so spiritual every Sunday has been spiritual but this time we were fasting! We got to bear our testimonies and most of the missionaries bore their testimonies. The new Elders are getting better with their Spanish but they are working hard to get better!

We had a quorum of the twelve talk played to us. It was from Elder Holland, broadcasted of course haha but we heard his words and he spoke with such boldness and strength that it felt like a Baptist preacher was talking to me (because of the boldness and strength haha). He told us that he knows how a mission can change any ones life and how we need to know that when we have prepared for one we give up things like sin to prepare to serve our Heavenly Father. He asked that after coming back from a mission, how could missionaries go inactive? He said that if things don't turn out the way we wan't our mission to turn out, if we don't baptize the goal that we set , or if we think that we didn't have any crazy stories of how our testimonies were strengthened; we better be grateful that we were able to serve our Heavenly Father. He told us that when we get back home to not leave the church and not say "well we will just check that off the list." He said that if we felt like that to just go back to what ever thing we were doing before we started to prepare. I love Elder Holland so much he has so much wisdom.

Another thing that we had on Tuesday was a devotional. Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke and he shared some inspirational words! He told us that we as missionaries need to work hard because we are an extension of the quorum of the twelve apostles. He gave us some good advice and said that the first three hours of our day is the most important part of our mission. When we read, study and learn over and over again, we will receive revelation and we must not be tired of studying things over and over again. "For he that works and continues to work will learn more because the power of revelation will come to you and will help you in what you need to teach your investigators."

This week I had been praying really hard because sometimes I have trouble with the language and I feel discouraged! I had fasted because I felt that way for a couple of days. I was thinking about not being ready to go out and I felt like I am not working hard enough. Two days later I received my answer. Someone had told me this scripture that would help me with my problem. I read in D&C 90:11 it says ''That every man shall hear the fullness of the gospel in his own tongue." I knew in that very moment I had received my answer and that night I thanked my Heavenly Father for answering my prayer. I'm grateful for the power of prayer. I have never been so close to my Heavenly Father than I am right now. I know he hears my prayers and that he answers them by helping me feel comfort or by helping me with my Spanish. The past couple of days I have been speaking it a lot more with my district and I have been speaking it with teachers. There are some native missionaries here and I talked with them for a while also.

All is well, and I am trying to work as hard as I can. My companion and I are getting closer and we are helping each other out as much as we can. We are starting to get the hang of teaching investigators and we are learning the importance of planning and how we use planning to practice what we are going to say to our fake investigators. Tomorrow we get to go on splits and go with the field missionaries to their appointments. I am kind of nervous but I am so glad to go out and speak with the people! Well that is it for my fourth week! I cant wait to tell you about my week 5! I love you all and miss you! Hope all is well. I am praying for you all! I have done one month I can do two years!
Elder Santacruz

Shout out to Elder Broyles who just left on his mission!!
Jamaican Elder Peart. Going to my mission!

New kids on the block

How missionaries get buff

Our work outs!

Top Bunk

P-day Picture



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Speaking the Language of Spanish!

Elder Santacruz just continues to sound great from week to week. He is learning a lot more Spanish and is so confident in his daily assignments. Here is his week 3 email, next week will be a month. Time is flying. Enjoy! :)

Como estan mi familia!
It is week 3 and boy was it a good week! Of course I learned a lot that is all I do here is learn things. This week started out great and it started out by us going to the university. The college is 10 blocks away and we got to go proselyting. I gave out my FIRST Book of Mormon on my mission. It was so awesome! Everyone that my companion and I talked with would listen to us everyone is so nice here! They all take time to hear our message and when they are not interested they say it after were done talking with them. I was so amazed of how patient they were with us because our spanish is not the best and they even helped us with our Spanish. My companion and I gave out 7 restoration packets and talked about Joseph Smith. A lot of them had questions we couldn't answer and their questions were the best but we still got our point across. We talked to one person that wanted to know more and we were talking with him for about 25 min about Joseph Smith and how we got the Book of  Mormon, it was so awesome!! I couldn't really understand all of his questions because he talked really fast but we gave him the book and the restoration pamphlet. He was waiting to talk to us because we were talking to this lady for about 5 min and he was waiting a few feet away. It was a great experience and we get to go again tomorrow and next week we get to go on splits!!!! Something that we get to do every Sunday is take a walk around the Temple, take pictures and we also get ice cream. I have some pictures taken at the temple I will send.
Something else that happened this week was we got to listen to a devotional that was broadcasted Richard G. Scott gave it and it was so powerful! What I got out of the talk was the power of prayer. He told us that as misssionaries it is vital for us to communicate with God. He said that we cannot be affective missionaries if we don't ask for help and tell him how things are going. He said to the missionaries that are learning a language, "You need to be patient and know that through and through hard work, you will have the gift of tongues." That right there comforted me because the language is still hard to learn. Conjugating is so hard sometimes but I just have to remember that I have been here for only three weeks and I know that I will get it down eventually.
This past Sunday we had a devotional from our MTC president. He told us something I never really thought about until now. He was saying us missionaries were forordained before we were here on earth. I pictured that God was on a stage and he called me by my name, told me to stand, and told me that I will be a missionary when I go down; to stand with my brother, to go to war against Satan and that this army is only getting better. When I think of that I just feel like I'm doing my purpose in life and it is the best feeling. 
On tuesday it rained so hard here! It was raining during our physical activity and it was awesome. Only three other elders wanted to go outside so we took a soccer ball and we played the whole time in the rain. It was like a hurricane but the rain was nice and warm and we just wanted to get used to it because we will be living in it for two years! 
We had a fake referall this week and it was so cool because I was talking spanish and it was crazy how much heavenly father helped me. My companion told me I did really good and he said that I was conjugating in preterit and imperfect. It was kinda cool! We're working so hard, my companion is a hard worker. Every free time we get we come to the computer lab and look up talks and we also use this program called TALL, it helps us with conjugating and helps us memorize irregular verbs. Those are the worst! We are working hard and us getting a long everyday strengthens us because we tell eachother more things about how we are feeling and that gives us more trust in eachother. Yesterday I had an opportunity to help him. He was having kind of a bad day, he said that he was feeling homesick and I told him things to make him feel better. I told him to give it a few more weeks and I promised that he will be so busy he won't have time to think about his family and be homesick. I told him he will have a new family out here soon enough and that we are his family now!
This week was amzing and so helpful! I am glad to be a missionary and thankful for the many blessings I have love you all! 
Elder Santacruz




Monday, October 28, 2013

Week Two and On a Roll

Elder Santacruz is seriously rocking his mission! Thursday is his P-day and it is our family's new favorite day. We love hearing from him and love hearing about the spiritual experiences he is having. You go Elder Santacruz! Enjoy.
    Hey guys my week 2 was awesome I seriouly love it here and I am not homesick at all! I hope it stays like that! My spanish is doing a lot better I'm working harder and the conjugating is getting easier! They assign fake investigators here and we have to teach the lessons in spanish and that is one of the hardest things to do! We have been giving lessons for about a week now and it has been so helpful because the investigators are the teachers and they tell us what we should do to improve what we did! My companion and I are getting better everyday, if there is a problem between us we try to tell each other to try to fix it or help eachother with the problem. This week we had a devotional and we got to hear a broadcast from Elder Bednar he gave this talk about a year ago and only missionaries at the MTCs can hear it! I seriouly heard the best talk my ears have heard! The spirit was so strong here that there was nothing to do but to cry. It felt like he was talking to me personally and he told me ways to be a better missionary. He told me to not just gain a bigger testimony but to convert unto Christ! Christ was so willing and loving, he would always turn outward and that the natural man would turn inward. That talk gave me the things I needed to hear and made want to work harder and sacrfice my time, my body, and my spirit! It told me when I'm out here to stop thinking about myself, stop being so selfish, and stop complaining about the things that are not happening. He told me that these two years is the time to bring souls unto the light and give them what the members of the church have!
   On Tuesday we went to "la tienda" (the store) it was kinda like a Walmart but smaller! We had to walk like 5 blocks to get there the oustide world is crazy! haha There is a park that is right across the MTC, it is huge but inside the park that day they were playing Zumba music! Mom that remided me of you haha and I just wanted to go over there and dance! Any way we got to the store and I had to buy batteries, pens and some other stuff because they took that stuff out of my bag at the airport but its all good at least it wasnt anything expensive. I also got junk food of course because there is none in the MTC but dont worry I only eat one a day mom. Also they have the best fruit at the MTC, I eat that stuff like candy! haha so don't worry about that!
   The teachers here are amazing. They all served missions in the DR so they all know the people and they are amazing! They are the funniest people and they love us! We get to go tomorrow to the University and go prosleyting so pray for me that I get to give out a Book of Mormon. They speak super fast so idk if I will be able to understand them! For a couple of days, we have been alone. The missionaries that were here before us left to their missions. It's crazy that I have been here for two weeks and that I only have 4 weeks to go. It is going by so fast! Today we got another group of missionaries and now we have like only 45 missionaries here at the MTC. It is way better that there are barely any missionaries at this MTC because we all pretty much become a family and the MTC Pres. is really close to us! I like that he know us all by name!
   This week was amzing and I seriously love it here except the fact of how humid it is hahah but it's actually not as bad as it seems! We have to do physical activity outside and that is funny because I come back inside looking like I went went swimming ha! I love my mission already guys I have learned so much and I cant wait to work harder LOVE you all so much and cant wait tell you what happens next week!
Elder Santacruz

Our Handsome Elder Santacruz at the DR Temple

Elder Santacruz with the MTC President and His Wife

Elder Santacruz and His District

His FavoriteTeacher Hermano Nunez

Studying hard

On his P-day

Going to La Tienda

A little of the Dominican Republic